Bill Cosby: NBC Under Pressure as Another Woman Accuses Comedian of Rape

Bill Cosby Rape Accusations
Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

NBC is under mounting pressure to act in regards to the sitcom it is developing with Bill Cosby amid allegations of rape leveled at the comedian by multiple women.

NBC would not comment on the status of the untitled project, but few believe that it has a chance of moving forward in light of new statements by two women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Cosby decades ago. Cosby’s lawyer has denied the claim, calling them “discredited allegations.”

With that denial and no legal charges pending against Cosby, the situation presents a judgment-call dilemma for NBC. The comedian has long been associated with the network, and was a cornerstone of its success in the 1980s with his domestic comedy “The Cosby Show.”

But given the disturbing nature of the allegations, it’s nearly impossible to imagine the network producing and marketing a show featuring the 77-year-old comedian’s trademark avuncular humor.

Netflix is scheduled to release an hourlong Cosby comedy special, “Bill Cosby 77,” on Nov. 28. There was no indication from Netflix of any change in that plan, as of Monday.

The circumstances are also precarious for producer Tom Werner, who also has a long association with Cosby and is on board to exec produce the NBC comedy. The success of “The Cosby Show” built the Carsey-Werner Co. into an independent TV production powerhouse in the 1980s and ’90s. Werner and his former partner, Marcy Carsey, were exec producers of “The Cosby Show” as well as the CBS sitcom, “Cosby,” which Cosby toplined from 1996-2000.

NBC cut a rich deal with Cosby earlier this year that calls for the network to pay him a penalty if the proposed sitcom does not go to pilot. In a sign of the clout that Cosby still wielded, under the deal orchestrated by his reps at CAA, it’s understood that the penalty fee is to be paid to Cosby rather than the studio developing the script, which is Sony Pictures TV. Writers Mike O’Malley and Mike Sikowitz were tapped to write a domestic vehicle for the comedian. The studio is not believed to have delivered a finished draft script to the network yet.

Cosby has been in the public eye in recent months, making the talk show rounds and doing live comedy dates. He performed Sunday night in Erie, Pa. But as the controversy ballooned last week, Cosby canceled a scheduled appearance this week on “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Although allegations of untoward sexual behavior have dogged the comedian for years, the PR crisis for Cosby accelerated when the Washington Post published a column Thursday by an Arizona woman, Barbara Bowman, who accused Cosby of drugging and raping her multiple times when she was an aspiring actress in 1985, during the height of “Cosby Show’s” run.

On Sunday, another woman, Joan Tarshis, a former actress and music industry publicist, made similar accusations in a lengthy statement posted on the Hollywood Elsewhere blog. Tarshis claimed she was drugged and assaulted by the comedian in 1969 when she was an aspiring actress and writer. Tarshis was also scheduled to appear on Monday’s edition of syndicated newsmagazine “Inside Edition,” calling Cosby a “serial rapist” and a “very, very, very sick man,” according to an interview transcript provided by the show.

Cosby previously faced sexual assault allegations in a 2005 civil suit filed by Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater. That suit was settled out of court in 2006. The strictness of the confidentiality agreement on that settlement was reinforced Monday. After Cosby attorney John P. Schmitt posted a statement on the comedian’s website Sunday denying the rape allegations raised by Bowman, a new statement appeared on the site Monday that was attributed to Schmitt and Constand’s attorney, Dolores Troiani.

“The statement released by Mr. Cosby’s attorney over the weekend was not intended to refer in any way to Andrea Constand. As previously reported, differences between Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand were resolved to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago. Neither Mr. Cosby nor Ms. Constand intends to comment further on the matter.”

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  1. You’ll all see that this is nothing more than a lynch mob.

  2. Vicky Fogg says:

    Bill Cosby has been working with Children for decades…If one of these women was Rape,,(I’m not saying it didn’t happen)..Why didn’t they come forth while he was working with the Children?..If I was one of the Parents and it was possible..I would SUED these women for not coming forth with this information back when he was involved with many children,,So as a Parent, had these women spoken up back then, and made it know to the public,,The Parent would have had a choice to remove their child from working with or being around him because of these allegations.

  3. like female domino game : takes one big mouth to start all dominoes to follow / Are they into money bag chase ?

  4. mary hewitt says:

    This is nothing more then people trying to get 15 min of fame.If a woman is raped she is not going to keep quite and sure not for 30 years.Where is the proof ?their is none ‘but this is what is wrong with this country..people can make false claims on people and everyone runs with it..when a crime has happen either it is reported in a time period where it can be proved or it should be threw out..Wake up people get a clue..Now 2 woman have come forward well they should have stayed in their own little lying world and found something else in life to make their name known..cause I’m not buying this…

  5. Isaac says:

    Why are so many believing an allegation of a crime allegedly committed 45 years ago? Drugged, but now it’s conveniently recalled when he’s about to become a household name again? I don’t buy it. There is infinite jealousy, grudge-holding, and spitefulness in this business. Just for hypothetical example: “Oh, someone is making a claim against him now? What a good time to spite him for telling me I had no talent, and thereby help legitimize the other woman’s claim. I’ll show him.” See how easy?

  6. LaFonda says:

    Leave him alone. He’s Bill Cosby. He can do what he wants.

  7. Carole says:

    there are a lot of women with the same story. His silence says a lot to his creditibility the question is his mental state rape isn’t about the sex he maybe a very sick man that’s something to really consider

    • Isaac says:

      There is a second woman parroting what the first said. HIs silence reflects his credibility? What should he do? Deny it on every talk show and news program? Keep fueling the allegations in the public eye? Think about such allegations against you. Your first reaction may be to defend yourself, but thinking it through, it may not be the most beneficial path.

  8. Allene Swienckowski says:

    The power of the media destroys lives and reputations – FACT. I don’t know what happened with Mr. Cosby and said women. I am concerned with any woman, girl who returns to a man and spends time with him (in some cases multiple times) that has previously assaulted/raped them.

  9. Allene Swienckowski says:

    Fifty years ago, I was 16. I had men, grown men with money trying their wiles on me all the times and I lived in Southern California. I was never swayed by fame or money or implied power. Perhaps your observation is correct but after I had kids I made it a point to instruct them about the type of people they would encounter, such as a coach inviting them to watch porn, ect. You mention that the statute has run out so what do these ladies expect today?

  10. Allene Swienckowski says:

    I would like to ask the women a question or two about their alleged rapes. BTW I am a woman, mother and grandmother. If the man laced your drink and he raped you once, could you explain why and how you were ever in his company again? I know the man was a STAR, but why would you put yourself in harms way voluntarily?

    • Morganna says:

      Oh yeah? Well i’m a woman, daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great aunt, second cousin, and I think you’re victim shaming, and it’s pathetic.

      • Allene Swienckowski says:

        Sorry Morgana….do you really think you can drop “victim blaming” and get an agreement? ‘friad not hon! These ladies were not married to Mr. Cosby and if the ladies were free agents and decided to be in Cosby’s company after being drugged and raped, well common says the victim would not return for a second rodeo!

      • Isaac says:

        I think you’re blinding chauvinistic. What if your son was being accused of something so horrible decades after it allegedly happened? Would you automatically believe the woman?

  11. rick givens says:

    Ladies don’t drink the Kool Aid !

  12. Ilpalazzo says:

    Looks like the left is trying to eviscerate one of the last good black role models before Barack’s done in office.

  13. Sarah says:

    It doesn’t matter if these crimes occurred “Decades ago”. It is very disappointing when a public treasure ,like Cosby, is found to have a sinister, predatorily side; however, this behaviour ruins lives, so take a stand and say NO to rape.

  14. Jason says:

    Decades ago? Decades ago? And once again these companies will bow down to the small population. Proof ? Just wait and see instead of panicking every time and worrying about your revenue.

  15. Leo says:

    If you settle a case out of court for an undisclosed amount you’re a rapist. Enough said.

    • Hi says:

      I’m playing Comment Bingo, and when ”Leo” said, “Enough said”, I won! Huzzah! [Enough said, Actually, Hitler, any swear word spelled with asterisks, and any post with ALL CAPS.] Good night, losers!

    • Truth be told says:

      You aren’t necessarily guilty if you settle out of court. Some people don’t want to have the publicity get out even if they DID not do anything wrong. Also, if he was cheating on Camille didn’t know about his cheating (or chose to turn her head) it would be another thing to have it in the courts so maybe a pay off could keep his rep in tact. The thing is, if a man raped me…. I DEFINITELY wouldn’t go back to have him rape me again like the now AZ lady is claiming. I would go and attempt to have him prosecuted regardless of who he was and what lies he told. I would want it on the official police record so that in the future, it would be there. I would have had less problems believing these women if they had reported the “‘crimes” to the police. That is very fishy to me. You can still sue in a civil case after the criminal case is settled. It just sounds strange to me unless they are saying he threatened to kill them or something?

  16. Nanny Mo says:

    Tiger Woods and now Bill Cosby, this is a really, really sad day for role models. And if I recall, Cosby was all over other people for being bad role models a few years back, seems another case of the pot calling the kettle…. It’s a sad, sad day around here.

    • Isaac says:

      I’m noticing a pattern – women blindly accept these allegations as fact. Think about if this was your son or husband accused of a crime decades later. Would you be so blindly accepting of the allegations as fact?

    • rick givens says:

      I wouldn’t put Woods & Cosby in the same category. Woods had consensual sex with adult women.

    • dennis says:

      indeed, we have had this over the last couple of years in the united kingdom, a lot of our 1970’s-80’s tv household names have been found guilty of same, and similar offences – it opened a massive can of worms and led to a lot more people coming forward and dropping the celebs like dominoes, am sure the same will happen in the states going forward

    • Ilpalazzo says:

      Or its a case of unsubstantiated attacks to tarnish someone’s reputation. Most people don’t care about if its true or false or resolved or decades ago, all they’ll remember now is ‘Bill Cosby = rapist’. Internet memes are a useful mirror in reminding us how few words are actually remembered by the general populace.

  17. Holly says:

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? Not social media.

    • Hi says:

      Thumbs up/upwards arrow, Holly!

    • jondaly70jon says:

      most of these women were quite young when Cosby allegedly attacked them. they did not feel that they could take on such a wealthy, powerful celebrity. they knew that he had the ability to destroy them. and now the statute of limitations has run out.

      so, yeah, being rich, famous, and powerful has its perks. that does NOT mean that this man is innocent. we don’t know. it never went to trial. he was never convicted and he was never found not guilty.

      so al we are left with is the testimony of one man and thirteen women. if you believe that women tend to lie about these things, then you probably believe Cosby.

      • Holly says:

        I am not making a statement as to whether I believe either, because frankly there are questions that need to be answered from both ‘sides.’ What I am saying is, charges have not been brought and social media is not a court of law. Its not up to us as posters to assign guilt or innocence.

    • Marlowe says:

      I think that the fourteenth accuser probably tipped the conversation if the direction of “What kind of person has fourteen separate women accuse an American icon of rape?”

      • Holly says:

        As one who has been on the receiving end of false accusations (none like what he is accused of) I can tell you one person with an agenda can spawn many more fame seekers, people who you pissed off, people who just want to jump into the dog pile and before you know it you’re faced with a shit ton of lies coming at you from all directions. I’m not saying that is what is happening in this case … but I’m not saying it isn’t what’s happening either. Thankfully in my case the truth came to light – and if he is truthful his will too. Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

  18. MarinDem says:

    INNOCENT UNTIL SOMEONE CAN PROVE OTHERWISE. A TRIAL IN THE MEDIA CAMPAIGN WILL NOT HELP THESE WOMEN AGAINST THIS HOLLYWOOD ICON. THEY WILL HAVE TO PUT UP SOME ADMISSABLE EVIDENCE IN COURT OR STFU! NO SETTLEMENT IS GOING TO HAPPEN THIS TIME.

    • Criminal Prosecution says:

      A very rich man 30 years after the probable rapes maybe?

    • Michael Anthony says:

      True, but when you have dozens of accusers, something is up. One woman who settled with Cosby was backed up by 12 other woman. They testified for no money, nothing.
      Sorry, but if you or I were accused, we would be fired. And there’s nothing we could do about it. Fair is fair. And Cosby deserves no special treatment.

  19. Glenn C. says:

    He’s black. So he wont be charged. If he was white then yes. He would be charged. Lots of riots and looting. Always one sided.

    • Jack says:

      Roman Polanski is white and has never served jail time for raping a 13 year old girl (granted, he skipped the country. But he’s still free). Ben Roethlisberger is white and was never charged even though he was on security camera forcing a woman into a men’s bathroom at a bar where she says he raped her. O.J. Simpson went to jail in 2007 without any rioting or looting. Numerous high profile rappers like Lil Wayne have gone to prison without any rioting or looting as a result. Meanwhile a bunch of rich white kids rioted last month at a pumpkin festival for no apparent reason and the media barely covered it. But you don’t care about the facts. You just want an excuse to spew your racist idiocy for all the world to see.

  20. Jacques Strappe says:

    I am neither a fan nor detractor of Mr. Cosby and refuse to weigh in on his recent scandal(s) but I had my doubts that his proposed sitcom would have resonated with the highly valued 18-49 demographic of viewers any more than Michael J Fox or the late Robin Williams did in their respective most recent sitcom attempts.

    • CMarks says:

      I’m with you on this one. NBC is (was) so desperate to field a successful sit-com it was willing to go to the “tried and true” even though the demo (over 50) would have been undesirable. Actually NBC really only needed to look at Cosby’s CBS comedy’s lukewarm ratings (and CBS skewed older) to see that Cosby is no longer the draw he was during his previous NBC sit-com. This show will never see the light of day regardless of the financial commitment.

      • Mike Brown says:

        True, a sitcom starring Cosby as “the beloved patriarch overseeing a multi-generational family of children, in-laws and grandchildren” sounds pretty boring. But what if that beloved patriarch had to juggle multiple accusations of drugging and raping women over a thirty year period? Now that’s a show I’d want to watch.

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